Daily Archives: 26 April, 2011

Manomanista first round results

As reported previously, MERINO II beat ALBISU 22-21 on Sunday. Alas I do not have time to write on every match of the weekend, so here is a round up of the other Manomanista first round results in brief.

22/4/11, Pamplona: IDOATE beat BELOKI 22-4 Many pundits believed the young and supremely promising Idoate would beat Beloki, but few would have predicted the scale of the thrashing he handed out to the 36 year old four time champion. Idoate, who is all of 21, dominated the veteran in every facet of the game, suggesting that his time might soon be upon us. However, to progress further, he will need to defeat Gonzalez in Ascain on Friday.

23/4/11, Haro: URRUTIKOETXEA beat BEROIZ 22-18 This must rank as an upset. 21 year old Beroiz has been regarded as Aspe’s champion in waiting for over a year now, so strong and assured is he for his age. However, Asegarce’s Mikel Urrutikoetxea, who is also 21, put paid to any ambitions for this year with a battling performance to fell him at the opening stage. He will now play Retegi Bi in Amorebieta on Saturday, and he must rate his chances.

25/4/11, Eibar: ARITZ LASA beat ARRETXE II 22-16 This was a close match in which there were several ties on the scoreboard. Both played quality pelota, but in the end, Lasa’s strength won the day and Arretxe was forced to concede after a marvellous fight. Lasa will now play Bengoetxea VI in Eibar on Sunday for a place in the last four.

 In the Promocion championship, Ladis Galarza beat Iza 22-10, Argote beat Gorka 22-10, Rico IV beat Cecilio 22-13, and Olaetxea beat Zabaleta 22-18. In the second round, Ladis Galarza plays Jaunarena, Argote plays Olazabal, Rico IV plays Pengarikano, and Olaetxea plays Leiza.

Urrutikoetxea did for the fancied Beroiz

Urrutikoetxea did for the fancied Beroiz

Image from Asegarce

Manomanista: Merino II lifts spirits in Ezcaray

Sunday 24th April, Ezcaray

MERINO II  beat ALBISU 22-21

There was a large and vocal crowd in Ezcaray to witness the Manomanista debut of homeboy David Merino. Merino’s rise has been swift, from his obvious nerves at the start of the Pairs tournament, to his scintillating semi final performances which nearly netted a place in the final. Much is expected of the young Riojan, who plays with a classical elegance and desperation to succeed. The fans had already witnessed David’s brother Miguel, and Titin, take a sound beating in the opening pairs match, which perhaps made them desire all the more a performance from the younger Merino brother. In his way stood another young charge, the softly spoken but assured and potent Jon Ander Albisu, also playing his first Manomanista game. The two delivered a battle royal, but ultimately, Merino’s tifosi left satisfied.

At first, it was all Merino. He started in with a whirlwind, netting the first two points with service winners, before taking advantage of four errors, some more excusable than others, from Albisu. However, Albisu found his touch from 0-6 down, forcing Merino wide with a cleverly angled ball from left to right. Serving with his own balls, he came storming back, adding nine points with no reply. He managed two service winners of his own, and bossed points with assurance, leaving Merino cursing a trifle petulantly. The run came to an end when Albisu hit low, attempting a forceful drive, and his rival drew level at 9-9, his composure returning. There followed a period of stalemate, as they found themselves tied at both ten and eleven apiece. Albisu once again eased ahead, opening up a three point gap at 14-11, and although Merino clawed his way back to 14-14, he re-established it at 17-14. Albisu looked to be the player with the aces, with more options up his sleeve and, outwardly at least, a cooler head. However, what Merino lacks in outward calm, he more than makes up for in fire and drive, and once again he came back, saving a match point before seizing the win for himself at the first time of asking.

It is a shame that a player with such potential must go out so soon, for Albisu played with real class at times. He is a bright prospect, and this narrow loss will not diminish that. However, it is the often mercurial Merino who proceeds to the quarter finals, where he will meet Aimar Olaizola, the recent shining star of the Pairs Championship. He will need all the fire he can muster there, for Aimar’s tail is very much up.

Scoring sequence: 0-6/ 6/ 9-6/ 9/ 10/ 11/ 14-11/ 14/ 18-147 18/ 18-20/ 20/ 21-20/ 21-22

Merino with Titin III, who was his botillero on Sunday

Merino with Titin III, who was his botillero on Sunday

Image from La Rioja, by J. Herreros